Merkel denounces 'evil' view of austerity

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has vented her frustration at the view of many that austerity is strangling some of the poorer countries in the eurozone.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Asked at a conference whether she thought southern European countries ‘could take’ any further German-imposed austerity, she snapped, saying: ‘I call it balancing the budget. Everyone else is using this term austerity. That makes it sound like something truly evil.’

Of course, that’s easy to say when you’re the chancellor of the Teutonic powerhouse that is Germany. Of course, Merkel is not a popular character in some of the southern European states, where protestors have carried images depicting her as a Nazi general.

One of Merkel’s allies in the German parliament, Michael Fuchs (he’s deputy leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), said: ‘Declaring an end to consolidation is absolute nonsense. In truth no one is really saving anyway, they're just issuing less debt than before.’

But Merkel's frosty response to the question is indicative of the fact that Germany is coming under increasing pressure to adopt a slighty softer line on this. The difference between budget balancing and austerity may seem clear enough in Berlin, but it's perhaps less obvious on the streets of Athens or Nicosia...

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Ranked: Britain's best-run companies

These are the businesses rated top by their peers for their quality of management.

Unconscious bias in action

Would you dislike someone just because they’re from the Forest of Dean?

I ran Iceland's central bank in 2009. Here's what I learned about crisis ...

And you thought your turnaround was tricky.

"It's easy to write a cheque you don't have to cash for 30 ...

But BP's new CEO has staked his legacy on going green.

AI opens up an ethical minefield for businesses

There will inevitably be unintended consequences from blindly adopting new technology.

The strange curse of No 11 Downing Street

As Sajid Javid has just discovered, “chancellors come and go… the Treasury endures forever”.